NBC has kicked off 2018 with a pretty big announcement: Hoda Kotb has officially replaced Matt Lauer, ousted over alleged sexual misconduct, assault and abuse, as co-host of the Today show. It’s the first time two women have led the show in its over 65-year history.
Kotb had temporarily stepped in to co-host with Savannah Guthrie since Lauer’s late November firing, but now it’s permanent. Guthrie made the announcement herself this morning.
Two women co-anchoring a national morning show is still extremely rare. NBC points out that the first time was in 2006, when Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts led Good Morning America. But clearly the decision makes sense: after Lauer’s firing, Today’s ratings actually improved, and the show surpassed rival Good Morning America’s viewership for four weeks (though its lead has started to slip).
This of course raises the question of whether Kotb and Guthrie, who now have to help repair the damage left by Lauer, are being given anything close to his reported $20 million per year. I’m willing to guess that the Emmy and Peabody-winning Kotb, who has been a part of the Today team since 2007, may not be pulling in Lauer’s paycheck, but it’s never too late for NBC to make some changes!